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A Hole in One for Holographic Display
(Professor YongKeun Park) Researchers have designed an ultrathin display that can project dynamic, multi-coloured, 3D holographic images, according to a study published in Nature Communications. The system’s critical component is a thin film of titanium filled with tiny holes that precisely correspond with each pixel in a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel. This film acts as a ‘photon sieve’ – each pinhole diffracts light emerging from them widely, resulting in a high-definition 3D image observable from a wide angle. The entire system is very small: they used a 1.8-inch off-the-shelf LCD panel with a resolution of 1024 x 768. The titanium film, attached to the back of the panel, is a mere 300 nanometres thick. “Our approach suggests that holographic displays could be projected from thin devices, like a cell phone,” says Professor YongKeun Park, a physicist at KAIST who led the research. The team demonstrated their approach by producing a hologram of a moving, tri-coloured cube. Specifically, the images are made by pointing differently coloured laser beams made of parallel light rays at the small LCD panel. The photon sieve has a hole for each pixel in the LCD panel. The holes are precisely positioned to correspond to the pixel’s active area. The pinholes diffract the light emerging from them, producing 3D images. Previous studies from Professor Park’s group have used optical diffusors for the same purpose, but the size of the device was bulky and difficult to be operated, and it took a long period of time to calibrate. In the present work, on the other hand, the group tailored their photon sieve to demonstrate a simple, compact and scalable method for 3D holographic display. This technique can be readily applied to existing LCD displays. Applications for holograms have been limited by cumbersome techniques, high computation requirements, and poor image quality. Improving current techniques could lead to a wide variety of applications, including 3D cinema viewing without the need for glasses, watching holographic videos on television and smart phone screens. Figure 1. The actual 3D holographic display, and an electron microscope image of the non-periodic pinholes. Figure 2. Three-dimensional dynamic color hologram operating at 60 Hz
A New Approach to 3D Holographic Displays Greatly Improves the Image Quality
With the addition of holographic diffusers or frosted glasses to wavefront modulators, KAIST researchers offer a simple and practical solution to significantly enhance the performance of 3D dynamic holographic displays by 2,600 times. The potential applications of three-dimensional (3D) digital holograms are enormous. In addition to arts and entertainment, various fields including biomedical imaging, scientific visualization, engineering design, and displays could benefit from this technology. For example, creating full-sized organs for 3D analysis by doctors could be helpful, but it remained a challenge owing to the limitation of hologram-generation techniques. A research team led by Professor YongKeun Park of the Physics Department at KAIST has come up with a solution and developed a 3D holographic display that performs more than 2,600 times better than existing 3D holographic displays. This study is expected to improve the limited size and viewing angle of 3D images, which were a major problem of the current holographic displays. The study was published online in Nature Photonics on January 23, 2017. 3D holograms, which often appear in science fiction films, are a familiar technology to the public, but holograms in movies are created with computer graphic effects. Methods for creating true 3D holograms are still being studied in the laboratory. For example, due to the difficulty of generating real 3D images, recent virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices project two different two-dimensional (2D) images onto a viewer to induce optical illusions. To create a 3D hologram that can be viewed without special equipment such as 3D glasses, the wavefront of light must be controlled using wavefront modulators such as spatial light modulators (SLMs) and deformable mirrors (DMs). A wavefront modulator is an optical manipulation device that can control the direction of light propagation. However, the biggest limitation to using these modulators as 3D displays is the number of pixels. The large number of pixels that are packed into high-resolution displays developed in recent years are suitable for a 2D image, and the amount of information contained in those pixels cannot produce a 3D image. For this reason, a 3D image that can be made with existing wavefront modulator technology is 1 cm in size with a narrow viewing angle of 3 degrees, which is far from practicable. As an alternative, KAIST researchers used a DM and added two successive holographic diffusers to scatter light. By scattering light in many directions, this allows for a wider viewing angle and larger image, but results in volume speckle fields, which are caused by the interference of multiple scattered light. Random volume speckle fields cannot be used to display 3D images. To fix the problem, the researchers employed a wavefront-shaping technique to control the fields. As a result, they succeeded in producing an enhanced 3D holographic image with a viewing angle of 35 degrees in a volume of 2 cm in length, width, and height. This yielded a performance that was about 2,600 times stronger than the original image definition generated when they used a DM without a diffuser. Professor Park said, “Scattering light has previously been believed to interfere with the recognition of objects, but we have demonstrated that current 3D displays can be improved significantly with an increased viewing angle and image size by properly controlling the scattered light.” Hyeonseung Yu, who is the lead author of this research article and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics, KAIST, noted that this technology signals a good start to develop a practical model for dynamic 3D hologram displays that can be enjoyed without the need for special eyeglasses. “This approach can also be applied to AR and VR technology to enhance the image resolution and viewing angles,” added Yu. The research paper is entitled “Ultrahigh-definition Dynamic 3D Holographic Display by Active Control of Volume Speckle Fields.” Figure 1. Concept of Scattering Display The size and viewing angle of 3D images can be simultaneously increased when a scattering medium (diffuser) is introduced. By controlling the wavefront impinging on the scattering medium, the desired 3D hologram is generated. Figure 2. Experimental Setup The optical set-up consists of a deformable mirror and the scattering medium with two successive holographic diffusers. A high-numerical-aperture imaging unit mounted on a three-axis motorized translational system is utilized for wavefront optimization and imaging. Figure 3. 3D Images Projected This picture shows 3D images in a volume of 2 cm × 2 cm × 2 cm with a viewing angle of 35 degrees using one of the wavefront modulators, a digital micromirror device (DMD). Figure 4. Artist’s Rendition of the Proposed Concept A dynamic 3D hologram of a face is displayed.
Next-Generation Holographic Microscope for 3D Live Cell Imaging
KAIST researchers have developed a revolutionary bio-medical imaging tool, the HT-1, to view and analyze cells, which is commercially available. Professor YongKeun Park of the Physics Department at KAIST and his research team have developed a powerful method for 3D imaging of live cells without staining. The researchers announced the launch of their new microscopic tool, the holotomography (HT)-1, to the global marketplace through a Korean start-up that Professor Park co-founded, TomoCube (www.tomocube.com). Professor Park is a leading researcher in the field of biophotonics and has dedicated much of his research career to working on digital holographic microscopy technology. He collaborated with TomoCube’s R&D team to develop a state-of-the-art, 2D/3D/4D holographic microscope that would allow a real-time label-free visualization of biological cells and tissues. The HT is an optical analogy of X-ray computed tomography (CT). Both X-ray CT and HT share the same physical principle—the inverse of wave scattering. The difference is that HT uses laser illumination whereas X-ray CT uses X-ray beams. From the measurement of multiple 2D holograms of a cell, coupled with various angles of laser illuminations, the 3D refractive index (RI) distribution of the cell can be reconstructed. The reconstructed 3D RI map provides structural and chemical information of the cell including mass, morphology, protein concentration, and dynamics of the cellular membrane. The HT enables users to quantitatively and non-invasively investigate the intrinsic properties of biological cells, for example, dry mass and protein concentration. Some of the research team’s breakthroughs that have leveraged HT’s unique and special capabilities can be found in several recent publications, including a lead article on the simultaneous 3D visualization and position tracking of optically trapped particles which was published in Optica on April 20, 2015. Current fluorescence confocal microscopy techniques require the use of exogenous labeling agents to render high-contrast molecular information. Therefore, drawbacks include possible photo-bleaching, photo-toxicity, and interference with normal molecular activities. Immune or stem cells that need to be reinjected into the body are considered particularly difficult to employ with fluorescence microscopy. “As one of the two currently available, high-resolution tomographic microscopes in the world, I believe that the HT-1 is the best in class regarding specifications and functionality. Users can see 3D/4D live images of cells, without fixing, coating or staining cells. Sample preparation times are reduced from a few days or hours to just a few minutes,” said Professor Park. Two Korean hospitals, Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang and Boramae Hospital in Seoul, are using this microscope currently. The research team has also introduced the HT-1 at the Photonics West Exhibition 2016 that took place on February 16-18 in San Francisco, USA. Professor Park added, “Our technology has set a new paradigm for cell observation under a microscope. I expect that this tomographic microscopy will be more widely used in future in various areas of pharmaceuticals, neuroscience, immunology, hematology, and cell biology.” Figure 1: HT-1 and Its Specifications Figure 2: 3D Images of Representative Biological Cells Taken with the HT-1
The key to Alzheimer disease, PET-MRI made in Korea
Professor Kyu-Sung Cho - Simultaneous PET-MRI imaging system commercialization technology developed purely from domestic technology - - Inspiring achievement by KAIST, National NanoFab Center, Sogang University, Seoul National University Hospital – Hopes are high for the potential of producing domestic products in the field of state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment that used to rely on imported products. The joint research team (KAIST, Sogang University and Seoul National University) with KAIST Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering Professor Kyu-Sung Cho in charge, together with National Nanofab Institution (NNFC; Director Jae-Young Lee), has developed PET-MRI simultaneous imaging system with domestic technology only. The team successfully acquired brain images of 3 volunteers with the newly developed system. PET-MRI is integrated state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment that combines the advantages of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that shows anatomical images of the body and Position Emission Tomography (PET) that analyses cell activity and metabolism. Since the anatomical information and functional information can be seen simultaneously, the device can be used to diagnose early onset Alzheimer’s disease and is essential in biological science research, such as new medicine development. The existing equipment used to take MRI and PET images separately due to the strong magnetic field generated by MRI and combine the images. Hence, it was time consuming and error-prone due to patient’s movement. There was a need to develop PET that functions within a magnetic field to create a simultaneous imaging system. The newly developed integral PET-MRI has 3 technical characteristics: 1. PET detector without magnetic interference, 2. PET-MRI integration system, 3.PET-MRI imaging processing. The PET detector is the most important factor and accounts for half the cost of the whole system. KAIST Professor Cho and NNFC Doctor Woo-Suk Seol’s team successfully developed the Silicon Photomultiplier (amplifies light coming into the radiation detector) that can be used in strong magnetic fields. The developed sensor has a global competitive edge since it optimises semiconductor processing to yield over 95% productivity and around 10% gamma radiation energy resolving power. Sogang University Department and Electrical Engineering Professor Yong Choi developed cutting edge PET system using a new concept of electric charge signal transmission method and imaging location distinction circuit. The creativity and excellence of the research findings were recognised and hence published on the cover of Medical Physics in June. Seoul National University Hospital Department of Nuclear Medicine Professor Jae-Sung Lee developed the Silicon Photomultiplier sensor based PET imaging reconstitution programme, MRI imaging based PET imaging revision technology and PET-MRI imaging integration software. Furthermore, KAIST Department of Electrical Engineering Professor Hyun-Wook Park was responsible for the development of RF Shielding technology that enables simultaneous installation of PET and MRI and using this technology, he developed a head coil for the brain that can be connected to PET for installation. Based on the technology describe above, the joint research team successfully developed PET-MRI system for brains and acquired PET-MRI integrated brain images from 3 volunteers last June. In particular, this system has the distinct feature of a detachable PET module and MRI head coil to the existing whole body MRI, so that PET-MRI simultaneous imaging is possible with low installation cost. Professor Cho said, “We have prepared the foundation of domestic commercial PET and the system has a competitive edge in the global market of PET-MRI system technology.” He continued, “It can reduce the cost of the increasing brain related disease diagnosis, including Alzheimer’s, dramatically.” Funded by Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as an Industrial Foundation Technology Development Project (98 billion won in 7 years), the research applied for over 20 patents and 20 CSI theses. Figure 1.Brain phantom images from developed PET-MRI system Figure 2. Brain images from developed PET-MRI system Figure 3. Domestic PET-MRI clinical trial Figure 4. Head RF coil and PET detector inserted in MRI Figure 5. Insertion type PET detector module Figure 6. Silicon Photomultiplier sensor (Left) and flash crystal block (right) Figure7. Silicon Photomultiplier sensor Figure 8. PET detection principle
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